If you are reading this Nov. 14, then today is my birthday. Get excited!
If you aren’t, then I am sorry you missed it. I’m not mad though. If I did not personally give birth to you, I may not remember your birthday either.
As a modern woman, I understand I’m supposed to be angsty and upset about aging. In truth, I’ve always embraced it. The alternative, not growing older, seems so much worse. I have pretty much enjoyed each passing year. So much love. So much adventure. Embrace what is. We are here for it. When you think of it that way, aging is really a gift.
More importantly, as I age I find I like myself better. That is saying something since I have always suffered from high self-esteem. Nonetheless, as I’ve grown and aged I’ve found that I understand myself better and, accordingly, make better choices for myself. That’s not selfish. It is survival.
As an example, it took me decades to understand that I am an ambivert. I don’t shy away from attention, but it depends on the context. Sometimes I’m the life of the party. Other times I enjoy quietly observing. I enjoy working a crowd — until I don’t.
Learning that I need to recharge with downtime has made all the difference in my energy levels and happiness. Know thyself. I must recharge with homebody downtime or I will burn out.
Other tidbits of wisdom that have come with age. Invest in comfortable shoes. If you already do this, you know the magic of not having your back, feet and hips throbbing. If you don’t, give it a try.
I spent my formative years in heels and “suffer for beauty” was my mantra. Now I spend a small fortune on the kind of orthopedic shoes a good friend calls my “Jesus sandals.” I can only hope He was this comfortable.
My family and friends will tell you that “drink more water” is my cure for just about anything. Headache, stomachache, heartache? Drink water. Swim in water. Go boating. Just add water. It cheers you. Stay healthy(ish).
The days of a steady diet of pizza and soda are behind us at a certain age. I have learned to love broccoli and brussels sprouts. At the very least learn to prepare vegetables properly (spoiler alert: it’s not by boiling them to mush).
Embrace your inner Brussels sprout lover. At least learn to make them palatable. This does not mean you don’t sometimes enjoy bacon or cake. Life is about balance, after all.
Be a quitter
Don’t finish what you start. Bad jobs. Bad relationships. Even a bad book or movie. It’s okay to say this isn’t working for me. You only get one precious life. Try to minimize how much time you spend doing things you don’t like.
On that note, “no” is a complete sentence. You are not obligated to provide a reason for not wanting to do something. “Thank you for the invitation. I won’t be participating. I wish you success with that!” is charming and kind. Learn it. Use it. Do not overcommit yourself.
Choose your circle
Spend your time with people who are generally kind and upbeat. You don’t need hundreds of friends, but life is better if you have a few true ones. Everyone is going to have a bad turn now and then but if someone is persistently dramatic and often embroiled in trouble it is acceptable to put some distance between you and them. In fact, it may be necessary.
If you find yourself feeling bad about yourself after spending time with someone it might be time to cut ties with that person. It is not necessary to have a breakup. Just focus on making time for the people that make a positive impact on you and you should, by default, have less time for the negative.
Remember, being civil (but distant) from people you don’t necessarily enjoy is not being “two-faced.” It is being an adult.
Each day is a gift. Try to accept, embrace and celebrate change. Find your grace, practice kindness to yourself and others, keep an open mind and always have a willingness to learn new things.
Don’t get stuck on how things used to be. Remember, grudges aren’t worth it. Laugh lines, however, most definitely are.
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